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3 weeks ago

Not a day goes by when I don’t relive an experience from my Dogmeat days. It was 1986. I worked with Charlie Wilson at UCSF and Sean Mullan at the U of Chicago, famous chiefs and two disparate neurosurgeons. I penned a memoir about those days in 2014.
Today I was turning a scalp flap and asked the scrub tech for a dry lap-sponge to support it. “Roll it up like cannelloni,” I told her. I had heard it from Mike Edwards, pediatric neurosurgeon at UCSF one Saturday afternoon in 1986, when I helped him repair a myelomeningocele. He dissected out the splayed out cord and rolled it up, “like cannelloni.”
I didn’t know what cannelloni was. What I did know was that I was at UCSF learn adult neurosurgery with Dr. Wilson, but here, by sheer happenstance, because I was on call and Edwards needed an assistant, I was experiencing a pediatric procedure I had never seen before. In an hour I learned how to close a myelomeningocele. Later, as Chief Resident in Chicago, did it the way Edwards taught me.
In those days, I was not the San Francisco foodie gourmand that I am today. I only knew Turkish food, egg rolls & fried rice, hamburgers and fried chicken. Years later, I ordered a plate of cannelloni in an Italian eatery and appreciated Mike’s comment. “Roll it up like cannelloni,” became part of my regular O.R. lingo. It also ended up as a chapter in Dogmeat, my memoir of those days.
About a third of my OR staff don’t know cannelloni. So they get to hear an explanation followed by my often told anecdote about Mike.
In an unexpected epilogue, my editor Mim Harrison, a layperson who was both fascinated and horrified by my Dogmeat stories, sent me an e-mail soon after we completed final revisions of the manuscript. “My husband and I went to an Italian restaurant last night,” she said. “I had chicken!”
Dogmeat, A Memoir of Love and Neurosurgery in San Francisco, by Moris Senegor M.D. (2014), available as hardcover, paperback and Kindle at Amazon.com, and as an audiobook at Audible.com. For more details visit my website at morissenegor.com.
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5 months ago

"The airplane, on its final descent into SFO, looked as if it would land in the choppy waters of San Francisco Bay. I looked out my window and saw another plane close by, making a parallel run alongside us.Nowhere before had a seen two planes so visibly, precariously close."

I began Dogmeat with these words, a metaphor for the perils I was to encounter at UCSF and my subsequent safe landing. The memory of that descent, back in December 1985, is still quite vivid. You can see the two parallel runways of SFO jutting into the water and, in the complex take-off/landing patterns of the airport. The photo of the plane along the wing of another, brings that memory to life.
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7 months ago

An unexpected fan from Croatia. Thanks, Slaven.

Dogmeat: A Memoire of Love and Neurosurgery in San Francisco - By Moris Senegor M.D.
With "When the Air Hits Your Brain" by Frank T. Vertosick M.D., one of the best memoires I had read and emotional journeys I went on by reading them. They added on to who I was and in the process reshaped me, allowing me to think I might become the better, wiser, more compassionate version of myself that the journey had led me to, but had not explained it. In these memoires, however, the authors explained it.
"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans" - Yes, that is true. But that is why we have books and language in the first place. To be able to interpret and realize in reverse the "Invisible process that was going on", as Senegor puts it, describing his budding love with Julie, and to discover the path we were already walking. All we need to do is read. Or listen to books. Let ourselves grow and become who we always had been inside of ourselves - Let this lead us. The world needs true ourselves, the uncanny, unprecedented, absolute. In this way we all truly are off for a great and bright future.
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1 years ago

Me in my Dogmeat days, spring of 1986, in one of those rare and precious weekends off. The brief respite did not erase the emaciated look or the bags under the eyes ... See MoreSee Less

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Dogmeat: A Memoir of Love and Neurosurgery in San Francisco

Ambitious and cocky, a young neurosurgery resident left his hometown of Chicago for what became an unforgettable adventure in San Francisco, both exhilarating and disheartening, destined to irrevocably change his future. “Dogmeat” was the moniker he was given as apprentice to a famous-and famously intimidating-neurosurgeon.

Moris Senegor gives a disarmingly honest account of his “Dogmeat” days in the wards and operating rooms of UCSF. He also vividly recounts how he fell in love with San Francisco and a woman he found there. His story is for both surgeons and anyone ever beguiled by San Francisco.

Dogmeat review
I purchased this book within minutes of hearing about it from the author and another colleague. Thank goodness for electronic books. Considering the large unread collection of books in my kindle library, I didn’t think that I would get to it anytime soon, but since I bought the book without knowing anything about it, I open it, and that was a mistake. I could not put it down. Dr. Senegor’s introduction immediately drew me in. His description of the city that I spent a year during my internship brought back my own nostalgic memories, and then I read his story with fascination and trepidation.

Read on ...

Neurosurgery was a field that was full of mystique when I was a lowly medical student, and I still remain in awe of that breed of surgeons as an anesthesiologist working with them in many operating rooms today. Dr. Senegor’s description of his six months as the resident for Dr. Wilson and the trials he was under brought back memories of my own training days, and I dare say, of many physicians’ residency period. While we were each learning different crafts, we were all learning. I appreciate Dr. Senegor putting into words what was an angst-fill period of time for young doctors and give it the perspective that time can give. As young people who has high expectations of themselves embarks on this lonely path, each fall from grace magnifies our own self-doubts. It is important to know that time do heals everything.

While not all of us aspires to be neurosurgeon, I think this is a book that every medical student and resident should read for the perspective from the lens of time. For everyone else who reads, it is and entertaining glimpse into a world of academia that few ever experience.

Available in eBook, Paperback & Audiobook